Driving stock along a race or lane
- Driving stock that has been regularly handled is easy. Just let them move along at their own pace. But often you don’t have all the time in the world and it’s necessary to put some pressure on them.
- Here problems can start as the animals at the back of the mob are often those at the bottom of the social rank - the very old, the very young, the skinny, the lame, and the sick. Pushing them with a bike and biting dog will do little to move the front or the middle of the mob. It will make their problems worse. Scared animals at the rear may turn round to escape their fear and knock you down so keep back off them.
- Making noise or holding your arms up high in the air holding two sticks will increase your apparent size and usually works well. You do not need to beat the stock with the sticks. Standing up on the foot pegs of the motorbike or ATV also works. Too much of the same noise or constant barking of the dog will soon lose its effect.
- To move a large mob you may need a dog that will run along the sides of the mob under command to the front or middle and bark it’s way back to you.
Droving stock on the public highway
- With drivers on the road, today having little knowledge or respect for stock, try to avoid highway driving if you possibly can.
- If you have to cross a railway - you will have certainly have to inform the Railways Company
- Have a pilot person or vehicle at the front with good warning signage
- Have a pilot person at the rear with good warning signage.
- Have a third person who patrols the sides of the mob and keeps them moving so that vehicles can slowly (hopefully) drive through them and get past.
- Make everyone wear safety vests or jackets.
- Be especially aware of the dogs darting around the cars as drivers often cannot see them.
- Don’t chase the stock along at full gallop as they will exhaust themselves and you will have 'hospital cases' to deal with.
- Remember you have legal responsibilities. You may be liable for damage done by your stock to vehicles and people, as stock these days do not have the right of way. You will have to prove that you did 'everything in your power' to prevent an accident. So helpers could be very important as your witnesses.
- Written by: Dr Clive Dalton